Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wicomico County to End Speed Camera Contract

Wicomico County will not renew its speed camera contract, according to an article in DelmarvaNow.com.

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver said that the county contract with Redspeed will not be renewed after it expires in December.  According to DelmarvaNow:
"Culver said drivers have changed their habits and the Wicomico County cameras are no longer making money like they used to. The money that came in would go toward public safety, he said." 
Wicomico's program was far smaller than speed camera programs run by more populous jurisdictions such as Montgomery, Prince George's, or Howard County.   Monthly revenues from the program peaked in the summer of 2013.  But by FY2015-2016 revenues had shriveled up to the point where the county only projected to bring in $35,000 for the year, according to the county budget.

Wicomoco County began their program in 2012.  A 2014 audit off the program showed that ticket revenues showed a marked, unexplained increase in the summer of 2013.  In November of 2013, the vendor issued a refund from a number of citations after a number of local school teachers claimed to have received erroneous citations.  Redspeed provided the following explanation for that refund:

Wicomico's contract with Redspeed was originally a per-ticket arrangement commonly referred to as a "bounty system".   The 2014 audit revealed that the this arrangement was changed in 2013 to avoid "the appearance of a bounty system".   However in fact what they did was merely break the single per-ticket fee into four separate per-ticket fee, meaning that they were paying the vendor exactly the same amount per ticket after the change and were still paying based on ticket volume regardless of the "appearance" they were attempting to present.


While the county is set to end their program for now, they are reserving the right to bring them back in the future.  Meanwhile the City of Salisbury will continue using speed cameras.  Salisbury's cameras, unlike Wicomico's, have been bringing in revenue.  Salisbury reported to have generated $768,000 from speed cameras in the last fiscal year, according to WBOC.